Acute respiratory failure as the first sign of Arnold-Chiari malformation associated with syringomyelia.Eur Respir J. 1995 Apr; 8(4):661-3.ER
We report a rare case of acute respiratory failure in a previously asymptomatic patient showing clinical signs of inferior cranial nerve palsy together with weakness and muscular atrophy of the upper limbs. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed Arnold-Chiari malformation associated with platybasia, basilar impression, syringomyelia and Klippel-Feil syndrome. Episodes of apnoea required tracheostomy and recurred upon tentative closure of the tracheostome, but remitted upon decompression of the posterior fossa. This case involved both obstructive mechanisms and dysfunction of the respiratory centre. Patients with respiratory failure not explained by pulmonary pathology should be checked for underlying neurological disease.